M. Ward cover of a Daniel Johnston tune. Simple, awkward, stunning. Got straight to me. I could write lots more, but just want to share.
Story of an Artist (Daniel Johnston covered by M.Ward)
Anyone remember that song? Rush ripoff band from the 80s, loved them.
Anyway, it really does. Can't believe I haven't written here in months. This post is basically just to say that I'm gonna spend more time writing here and less on FB, etc. Just feels better to have it here, more patient, thorough, personal. I'm sure FB is more convenient and blah blah, but so is McDonald's, and I'm all about home-cookin over fast food. So, I'll probably keep using that and other tech-of-the-moment for news blips and such, but here is where I'll be for the real stuff, one way or another.
And now, enjoy some awesome 80s guitar wankery, and consider your life. Love it.
I'm sure most folks know I'm an in-the-blood Red Sox fan. But here I am in San Francisco, watching people freak out about the Giants, who do seem to have that weirdo, underdog, rag-tag spirit that is hard not to root for. So I'm sittin here with my friend Eric, watching Game 1, being dumbfounded at their run production and laughing about their eccentricities. Lincecum's an easy one. I wanted to make one with the name 'Moocher' on it, in honor of the character from the classic movie 'Breaking Away' that looks EXACTLY like Lincecum (check out 1:20 in the trailer). But alas, Stoner is just too perfect and simple. As for Uribe, Eric is always talking about how he swings at anything, and it's hilarious now that he's become a postseason hero. Tonight, he struck out three times -- and hit a three-run shot that broke the game open.
So, some faux baseball cards for your dorky enjoyment. Making stuff is fun.
Who knows about stars, but I always enjoy his writing, and this was funcanny, given my recent foot mangling:
"I wish I treated my feet with the same tender loving care as I do my face," wrote Catherine Saint Louis in The New York Times. "But I don't." She quotes a study that says more than half of all women are embarrassed about their feet, and notes that Facebook has many "I Hate Feet" groups. You Leos can't afford to be under this spell right now. Even more than usual, it's crucial for you to be well-grounded. So I suggest you maneuver yourself into a state of mind where earthiness is beautiful and appealing to you. Find ways to celebrate your body and improve your relationship with it. How to start? Love your feet better." - http://freewillastrology.com/horoscopes/leo.html
Below is a gorgeous letter I just read. I will never stop appreciating and sharing such things. So endlessly happy-tears-inducing that the music has made it into lives.
Subject: I've been writing you this letter for 6 years....
Message: I will start this off as random as possible by explaining that tonight, in a sleepless haze, I opted to clean out my closet. I started reading through all the notebooks I have filled over the years. The angst of a 16 year olf girl seems funny now that I am 28. However, I came across a notebook I started in 2004. Your name was in it and the lyrics to a song you used to sing.
Six years ago, on August 22nd to be exact, my 16 year old brother, Chris, was killed in a car accident. I did what any normal person who wants to avoid the situation does, and burrowed myself into the planning-organizing-getting it all done-mode. Somewhere in that planning I had to pick a song. One song to define my baby brother's life. It was to be put with a video photo album for the visitation. As we were expecting nearly 1000 people to show up, the funeral home thought it would be a nice thing to have for the back of the line. It was the hardest part of the entire planning process. I picked out what clothes he would wear and what flowers we would have and even the color of his casket. But singling out 20 photos to symbolize his life and one song to match those still-shot memories...well that nearly broke me. It was like sitting down to make the most difficult mix-tape on earth and the trick was, it had to be under 3 minutes.
I sat in my room for an entire day, to the point where our house full of people started knocking periodically to make sure I was okay. Then Superhero came on. I cannot explain to you what that did to me. After six years, I've thought of writing you dozens of times to express gratitude...to let you know you made a difference in an extraordinary circumstance when you weren't even trying. I played Superhero with his pictures. It sounds strange, but looking back after all this time, I remember how it brought everyone to tears who stood and listened to it. Who watched those photos on that screen of that young boy who always made us smile. I knew I had done it right. I knew that wherever my brother was, I had done something right in choosing that song. It brought me peace in a way.
I haven't listened to that song for six years. Tonight I found a notebook in which I had written "Someday his laughter will stop ringing in my ears and that smile I see so perfectly today, will be harder to recall. I'll forget what his voice sounded like. He isn't coming home. He isn't coming home. But Love Will Find A Way."
Almost 300 kids camped out on our front lawn the day it happened. Over 1000 people came to his visitation service. The clearest and most defined memory I have of everything, is your song. I listened to Superhero tonight for the first time in six years. It choked me up a little, but mostly, it reminds me of the love and the hope I always felt for my brother. I just wanted to thank you for that. For, without even knowing it, helping to get me through the most difficult time I've ever had to experience.
It is amazing to me the way music can define moments in our lives. I had met you a couple of times before my brother's passing. Once at the first Asbury Park Surf & Skate Fest and I think another time here in Kansas City. You were friendly and kind and very laid back. It means something to me that the most defining song in my life thus far, came from someone who seems quite humbled and gracious.
Thank you Jonah, truly.
A vid for my sweet, troubled dad. RIP. Images and words I found on a recent trip to Florida, visiting a couple sweet people on my dad's side of the family, set to a song I wrote about him. He left when I was around 6, and I wasn't in regular contact with him or his family after that. He died in 1994, just before my daughter was born. Beyond all that, the song pretty much tells it as well as I know how to. Goodbyes keep going. Good luck with yours.
Oh, in case you can't read his writing in the letter at the end, here's the part of what he wrote that really got to me. I can hear me in it. It's odd. He wrote it in 1960, years before I was even a thought. He was in his early 20s, writing a letter to his sister:
"I have thought of you off and on the past few months. Now that I am back in circulation, so to speak, I wonder about you and me and life more often. I know that we share a sense of urgency concerning the possibility that life might pass us by. This feeling is called ambition when we know what to do with it, and frustration when no direction is apparent. I run hot and cold between ambition and frustration for lots of little reasons, not the least of which is the weather. There are other factors also, such as sex and money and feelings of self value. You know, little things. Well, slowly I am learning to push during the high times and keep up the front during the low times. Another trick I've put in my bag is to spend less money, thereby releasing me from the need to work at things I don't like.
Perhaps you will find my attempts somewhat useful, if not, at least entertaining."
Just got this message, tears in my eyes. You just never know what your ideas (of any sort) will do in the world.
"I've always loved the song 'Better Than This'. On dark days I've put the phone on my pillow and drifted off to it. I just played this song over the phone for a man that is losing his battle with a fatal disease: ALS/Lou Gehrig's disease. When the entire nearly 8 minute version (NEO version) was done, he signaled through computer commands that he wanted me to play it again. Thank you for writing beautiful music that can make people happy who virtually nothing to be happy about.
Patrick Obrien (http://www.patrickobrienfoundation.org) is in a glorified homeless shelter. He's only 33, and was/is an accomplished film maker. His family has thrown up their hands because he's too much to care for, and he doesn't have the funds to provide for his own needs. We're starting our own little army for him =D
Maybe if you have a moment you can call and sing that song or another to him, he can't communicate at this time...we're working on a new communication device for him...but his mind is still just as sharp as it ever was; he just doesn't have the muscle control to speak...or breathe on his own for that matter. Anyway, if you were to be so inspired to do so, he can be reached at xxx-xxx-xxxx.
Thank you again for all the ways you bring beauty into so many lives!"
Okay, calling him now. Hope I can sing okay through the grateful tears.
Here's a little movie comprised of all the best pics & vids from our trip to Cuba. For best viewing, click on HD, then click on the full-screen icon next to that, then press play and enjoy.
All I can really say about Cuba is that everything I've heard or seen about it just isn't accurate. It's a really complex place, and I have the feeling that the small amount of time we spent there just barely scratched the surface. It's not some Utopia. There are a lot of people really struggling, without a lot of options. There's a very unsettling feeling of authority in the air, and some of the people we met had some pretty harsh stories to tell. Definitely reminded me to appreciate the freedoms I can take for granted. All that said, it's definitely not some horrible dictatorship either. They've done a lot right. There's also a fullness and vibrancy there that I've never felt anywhere else. The love of music and rhythm in particular permeates the whole place. I definitely recommend getting there before it opens up to the US. I'm sure it'll change for the better in some ways, and I also know it will be forever changed, and some of the time-capsule magic will be lost.
Anyway, enough with the words. Enjoy the images and sounds. Oh, the music was written and performed by a group of friends that befriended us. I brought a little recorder out one night and recorded a bunch of tunes they wrote, I'm getting that together now. We spent just about every night with them, up until all hours, beating up Beatles, Elvis, Marley, Radiohead and anything else we all knew, in between gorgeous Spanish songs, generally making a happy racket.
So, to Pedro y Duavel y todos el personas en El Grupo Tan Feliz (forgive my busted Spanish), we miss you. See you soon.
Back from a most astonishing adventure. More soon on the ridiculously rocking recent past in words, sounds and vision in the next few days. In short, among other things, my understanding of and passion for what it is to make music has been lit up anew.
For today, though, as promised, news about the impending album and how you can keep being a part of its creation and release. Putting together the announcement now, should be up in a few hours.
In other news, the JoHawk is gone. My head, like my heart, is fresh, clean and experiencing healthy growth.